Here's a look at the draft order and my thoughts on the 2008 NFL Draft. I watch a lot of college football, and have seen most of these guys play. However, as everyone knows, it's hard to watch differences a guy like a defensive tackle or a center makes, and pretty much all of the information I get from those guys are from guys at ESPN.com or independent mock sites.
1. Miami Dolphins- Glenn Dorsey, DT LSU- I would expect Parcells to trade this pick, but teams say that each year. It still never happens. The Dolphins are aging all around, and they aren't good old players. Their roster is filled with bad old players. I believe that they would pick Dorsey to plug holes in the middle and occupy blockers of Joey Porter, Channing Crowder, and the still productive Zack Thomas and Jason Taylor. I believe that a team needs 3 things to be successful: a good offensive line, a good defensive line, and a solid, mistake-free (if not spectacular) quarterback. They could fill their need at DT in a big way by picking Dorsey.
2. St. Louis Rams- Jake Long, OT Michigan- Long chose to return to school for his senior season in the hopes of winning a national championship with Chad Henne and Mike Hart, but it didn't quite work out. His draft stock has never been higher, however. With the uncertainty of Orlando Pace's age and health, St. Louis needs help up front. They still have the quarterback and weapons to score alot, and Long would go a long way in re-establishing the Rams as an elite offense.
3. Atlanta Falcons- Matt Ryan, QB Boston College- The Falcons are hard to gauge because of their current situation, or lack of. The coach might want to see what exactly Byron Leftwich or Joey Harrington has to offer, as both were high picks for a reason. The Petrino regime instituted a zone blocking scheme with smaller quicker linemen, but it's anyone's guess as to if the next coach will use the same system. I'm going to go by the book with this one and say they take their next quarterback.
4. Oakland Raiders- Ryan Clady, OT Boise State- Conventional wisdom has the Raiders taking the sexy selection, Arkansas running back Darren McFadden. I'm not so convinced. I think it would be smart to trade down a few spots with a team who really wants/needs McFadden. Maybe Al Davis has handed over some power to his employees, and they might see the need to build around JaMarcus Russell. The Raider's backs aren't awful, but there is a need to protect the long-releasing Russell. Clady could fit in well at either tackle spot.
5. Kansas City Chiefs- Darren McFadden, RB Arkansas- The Chiefs are fortunate to land a talent like McFadden. With the unsettled LJ situation, McFadden would provide a boost to a struggling offense and provide a safety net for quarterback Brodie Croyle. With no other real options at running back, I wouldnt be surprised if KC also used a 3rd or 4th rounder on a tailback. Maybe they can bring the Wild Hog formation to Mizzou while they're at it.
6. New York Jets- Mike Jenkins, CB South Florida- The Jets team is surprisingly solid (seemingly) for such an abysmal year. They spent last year's first rounder on CB Darrelle Revis, and they could use this pick to solidify the other side of the field in a few years. David Barrett and Hank Poteat currently play opposite Revis and Coleman, but Jenkins could provide an upgrade over both. They would think long and hard about Chris Long here, and if Clady of Jake Long were available they'd be likely to scoop them up.
7. New England Patriots- Keith Rivers, OLB USC- An ideal situation would have Mike Jenkins slipping to them to replace Asante Samuel. It is very likely to happen, but for the sake of this mock draft, we'll keep it as is. It's difficult to say New England NEEDS much of anything, but depth in the secondary and youth at LB is a must. That's why they could reach for the Trojan Rivers at this slot. Mike Vrabel is getting up there in age and Adalius Thomas is so versatile he can play many positions. They could get even more creative in their schemes with the addition of Rivers.
8. Baltimore Ravens- Chris Long, DE Virginia- I don't think any player in the draft BELONGS on one team as much as Long does to the Ravens. Although not an ideal fit to their three- DT scheme, he could fill the role as a standup or down DE/OLB. Though he is not the athlete that Adalius Thomas is, i.e. he is not a full time OLB, he could move around and provide a pass rush when he is in. The defense is still stacked with Pro Bowlers, and Long would be a nice toy to whoever the defensive coordinator is. A quarterback is a possibility here, depending on whether or not they want to give Troy Smith a chance to beat out Kyle Boller. If Clady is left at this point, a very possibly situation, they would jump at him without thinking twice.
9. Cincinnati Bengals- Kenny Phillips, FS Miami- Unfortunately, with every Miami player, character comes into question. Even for the Bengals. They could use some more athleticsm on their team, and playmaking ability in the secondary has plagued them for a while. They have an otherwise solid defense, and might go for depth at wide reciever or offensive line in the 2nd round.
10. New Orleans Saints- Dan Connor, LB Penn State- The Saints are hurting for a defensive force in the middle. Mark Simoneau has played well, but he is getting up there in age. New Orleans could use an emotional leader and field general that a team always gets when they draft a guy from Linebacker U. Connor would instantly become a fan favorite and a valuable role model, especially for the young core.
11. Buffalo Bills- Sam Baker, OT USC- Langston Walker and Jason Peters are outstanding players.The Bills don't need a whole lot of additions. They have a very good defense with young stars in the secondary. The front seven is as good as anyone's, except for at middle linebacker. Next year, the Bills can add Posluzny to their linebacking mix. I think they should go with depth on the O-Line, as Walker and Baker, assuming he stays healthy, are both athletic, agile, and smart enough to deal with a movie inside where the team is weaker. Buffalo finished 30th in the league in passing, and a beefy linemen can only help.
12. Denver Broncos- Vernon Gholston, DE Ohio State- Does anyone really think that Denver will stay down for a second straight year? Me either. Jay Cutler showed flashes of being a leader and the offense has the capability of being explosive. I would expect them either trading down to grab a wideout or waiting until the 2nd round. Until that happens, though, I say they are content with taking a young DE to put opposite Elvis Dumervil.
13. Carolina Panthers- Quentin Groves, DE Auburn- The fans are going to cry to the team to pick a quarterback. But they should remember that Matt Moore didn't play awful when he was unexpectedly thrown in. David Carr just needs to stay off of his back. Jake Delhomme is still on the team, too. He could breathe some life into the team if he stays healthy. Besides, another bad year will have John Fox fired. He will want a guy who's going to make an immediate impact, not a rookie quarterback who will sit on the bench (though I do think Andre Woodson is a good fit here).
14. Chicago Bears- Andre Woodson, QB Kentucky- The Bears have to take a quarterback here, unless they see Woodson and Brohm falling to the mid-20's and than trading up for them. Grossman is out, and Brian Griese isn't a long term answer. Woodson has a rocket arm, but he needs to learn how to slow down his feet and make reads. Remember, Tim Couch and Jared Lorenzen put up monster numbers as Wildcats, too. When dealing with QB prospects, you have to pick apart their mechanics, something I am no expert at, and separate them from their cartoon-like numbers. I went with Woodson here over Brohm on gut instinct, and I don't see Brohm's blond hair and smile in gritty Chicago, though he has shown toughness (or some might say apathy) by trying his darndest every game during this bad season. What's fascinating, no teams above Chicago really have a dire need for a quarterback.
15. Detroit Lions- Brian Brohm, QB Louisville- I love it. Match made in heaven. He's probably just kicking himself about Martz leaving, but with Roy Williams, calvin Johnson and Mike Furrey, they still ought to throw the ball alot. Kitna is a great stopgap option, and the Lions did choose Drew Stanton on Day 1 last year, but he is a wild card as he was on IR this year. They could use help pretty much everywhere on defense, but a potential franchise quarterback at pick 15 is awful hard to pass on.
16. Arizona Cardinals- Aqib Talib, CB Kansas- God knows the Cardinals will score points (with a little continuity on the O-line that is). What they need is to learn how to stop the pass. Talib will help out in the secondary right away as a nickelback and will give them much needed speed.
17. Minnesota Vikings- Reggie Smith, CB/S Oklahoma- Smith is one of the top athletes in the draft, with the speed and instincts to play cornerback and the size and mentality of a safety. He can play both at a high level. The Vikes will be tempted to take DeSean Jackson or Malcolm Kelly, but they have an emerging Sidney Rice. They do lack playmakers, but it would be smart to add to what is already one of the best defenses in the NFL. He can provide depth in the secondary and push the starters.
18. Houston Texans- Jonathon Stewart, RB Oregon- Ahman Green says he is healthy, but even if he is, they need some young blood in the backfield.The Texans need some playmakers, and Stewart has proven to be a gamebreaker with the Ducks. A strong running game paired with their short passing game will keep them on the field for long periods of time. With one of the best young front 7's in the league, if not the best, they should be able to force teams to throw up balls that they don't want to let go of.
19. Philadelphia Eagles- DeSean Jackson, WR California- The Eagles need some things more than they do a wide reciever, most notably some help in the secondary and at linebacker. But a talent like Jackson is too hard to pass up. With him, Kevin Curtis, and Reggie Brown, and Brian Westbrook out of the backfield, Philly could have an electric group of recievers.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Michael Oher, OT Ole Miss- As was evident in the Giants game, the Bucs masked their lack of pass blocking by having a very creative, mobile quarterback and recievers who could turn short catches into long gains, making the final numbers look respectable. Against the better teams, they won't be able to do that. Oher is a monster of a man who could provide a lift and grow with whomever the quarterback will be after next year, whether it be a hobbled Garcia, Chris Simms, Bruce Gradkowski, or (get this!) 2008 second rounder Colt Brennan.
21. Washington Redskins- Malcolm Kelly, WR Oklahoma- Opposite Santana Moss, the Skins need a big target. They have a relatively good line, a good young quarterback, and a strong running game. If Kelly develops as expected, they could quickly turn into a powerful offense to hang with the Giants and Cowboys.
22. Dallas Cowboys- Felix Jones, RB Arkansas- This is another match that just makes me excited. I hate the Cowboys. Actually, I hate their fans. I love their collection of big, scary, FAST players, especially on defense. With the expected departure of Julius Jones, they'll be in the market for a second running back. Jones paired with Marion Barber is a frightening scenario for Giants fans like me. I have a funny feeling that Jones is going to be a better pro than McFadden. I'm probably 100% wrong, but I just have that feeling...
23. Pittsburgh Steelers- Calais Campbell, DE Miami- The Steelers had the best defense in nearly every sense of the word this past year. They didn't however have much depth at DE. Campbell is an athletic freak that teams don't often find this far down the line. He could immediately join a rotation on the D-Line and offer a pass rushing element to Mike Tomlin's team.
24. Tennessee Titans- Adarius Bowman, WR Oklahoma State- In the never-ending search to find weapons to help Vince Young develop, Bowman could be an answer. They have many running backs and many decent wide recievers, but none are Number 1 caliber. They are all solid 2's or good 3's. Bowman or a healthy Early Doucet are both big athletes with great hands and good instincts. However, wide recievers are shaky, and especially with these big, tall "specimens", the bust factor must be taken into account.
25. Seattle Seahawks- Rashard Mendenall, RB Illinois- Shaun Alexander is not Shaun Alexander anymore. Maurice Morris filled in well but he can not do it by himself. Mendenhall is a gamebreaker and is a good pass catcher out of the backfield. With the Seahawks recievers and Matt Hasselbeck, Mendenhall could be a good change of pace back with outstanding potential to go for 900 rushing yards and 400 recieving yards in his rookie season.
26. New York Giants- Kentwan Balmer, DT North Carolina- The G-Men would consider USC NT Sedrick Ellis here, but he is fairly small and not a fit for their traditional 4-3 scheme. The athletic Balmer, a 6-5, 290 pounder, would fit in well on a Giants defense that boasts the best pass rush in recent memory. They have been piecing together the interior for years since Keith Hamilton left, and Balmer would be a big body.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars- Leodis McKelvin, CB Troy State- You can never have too many good cornerbacks in this league, especially when you play in the same division as the Indianapolis Colts. McKelvin is a top flight athlete who could make an easy adjustment into the Jags ferocious, physical defense. Eventually, he could take over for Brian Williams opposite Rashean Mathis.
28. San Diego Chargers- Sedrick Ellis, NT USC- Ellis is a Southern Cal product who would be embraced by the team and fans. Not to mention he is as fast a nose as there is. He is small and quick, with good hands and quick feet. Ellis could play as a DT in a 5 man front, but is not built for a 4-3, so he fits in with San Diego's 3-4 scheme.
29. Dallas Cowboys- Terrell Thomas, CB USC- After taking Felix Jones a few spots earlier, I would expect Dallas to add to their defense. As I stated before, their front 7 in incredibly athletic and fast. Their secondary is very good, but the corners are aging, That's why I see them taking the rangy Thomas and allow him to develop for a few years behind Newman and Henry.
30. San Francisco 49ers- Derrick Harvey, DE/OLB Florida- Harvey is my favorite player in the draft, and he would be a great fit to any team, especially a 3-4 squad. What do you know, the niners have a great young LB in Patrick Willis and also run a 3-4.
31. Green Bay Packers- Fred Davis, TE USC- The last in a flurry of late first round Trojans, Davis would be an upgrade over the disappointing Donald Lee and Bubba Franks. He is a good blocker but his real threat is as an offensive weapon. In Favre's probable last season, Davis would put up good numbers. Also, a strong running game and a good tight end are the best things for a young quarterback to have as they build confidence.